Illegal charcoal trade in Lamu fuelling terrorism, police say
Proceeds from illegal logging and charcoal burning in Boni forest in Lamu County are believed to be funding Al-Shabaab militants hiding in the dense forest.
Police say areas where charcoal burning and illegal logging of timber is rampant in the forest have had frequent cases of Shabaab attacks.
Speaking when he launched a crackdown on loggers and charcoal burners, Lamu Police Commander Muchangi Kioi said they have intensified patrols to ensure no logging.
Mr Kioi said police will be working closely with the various units participating in the multi-agency Linda Boni operation to end logging.
On Monday, 240 bags of charcoal and tonnes of timber were recovered in Ziwa la Kengo, Ziwa la Taa and Maisha Masha inside the expansive forest.
Mr Kioi said the crackdown will continue until the logging business is completely eradicated.
“The public should understand that we will not entertain logging or any other activity which is against the law,” said Mr Kioi.
He said: “We have discovered that proceeds from charcoal, timber and even game meat are being used to buy food and water for Al-Shabaab terrorists inside Boni forest. I therefore warn members of the public against engaging in such businesses.”
Witu Forest Manager John Mbori said they will put all measures to stop logging and charcoal burning in Boni and other areas in Lamu.
He called for concerted efforts for the success of the logging ban.
“The logging ban will succeed only if we move in one direction. We really need to conserve our environment including the trees.
“If we allow people to continue cutting down trees in our forests, then Lamu will become a desert. We will take serious action against those found logging,” said Mr Mbori.
The crackdown comes days after the KFS officers recovered eight tonnes of the Bambaru wood worth Sh800,000 at Maisha Masha in Witu Division. The tree, which grows alongside mangroves, is endangered, particularly at the Coast.